The information provided here is general in nature and is not intended to be legal or health advice. It is designed to assist landlords and renters in understanding this issue.
As cases of the novel coronavirus, (COVID-19) spread across the country, landlords and renters need to prepare for the impact. Here are some resources you may find helpful.
Help Coming Soon for Renters Behind on Rent Due to COVID-19
Governor Walz announced that up to $100 million of funding will be allocated from the state’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to create a new housing assistance program to help renters that have fallen behind on rent and/or utilities due to COVID-19.
Sometime in the next few weeks an application will open up. If a renter is eligible, a payment will be made directly to their landlord to cover the amount past due.
Who is eligible to apply for assistance?
Individuals and households must meet all of these criteria:
1. Minnesota resident.
Webinar - Breaking News: Housing Resources for Hennepin Landlords in a Pandemic
2. Income at or below 300% of federal poverty guidelines, with a preference for those at or below 200%.
To see if an income qualifies, click here.
3. Have an eligible expense that was incurred after March 1, 2020 that is past due.
Housing assistance funds can only be used for eligible expenses incurred between March 1 and December 30th, 2020.
4. Unable to make the payment(s) owed because of the public health emergency.
For example: unemployment, illness, or another COVID-19 related issue.
5. What expenses are eligible?
Rent payments. Utility payments. Additional housing related costs approved by Minnesota Housing.
6. How are payments made?
Funds are paid directly to the landlord. For utlities, funds are paid directly to the utility company.
HEADS UP! We recommend that you connect with your renters now to confirm exactly how much they are behind on rent. This will make filling out the application faster and easier.
Make sure you get notified when the application opens up!
Subscribe to our Landlord Link newsletter here.
Learn about pandemic-related procedures and resources. Watch the recording
. PowerPoint Handout
Are you struggling to effectively resolve challenging problems with renters? Check out the free services offered by Community Mediation Minnesota. Learn more
COVID-19 Housing Court Procedures
Learn how eviction cases are being handled during the pandemic. COVID-19 Housing Court Procedures
Due to COVID-19, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz issued an executive order that places a moratorium on evictions, lease terminations, and Writs of Recovery for the duration of the peacetime emergency. The state of Minnesota is still under the peacetime emergency, so the eviction moratorium still applies. Read this FAQ about the Executive Order
Federal legislation - The CARES Act includes a 120-day moratorium on evictions and late fees for “covered properties.” Beginning on March 27 (the effective date of the legislation) property owners and managers of covered properties are prohibited from providing eviction notices or initiating eviction actions against residents for nonpayment of rent and may not charge fees or penalties related to that nonpayment of rent. Learn more
Webinar - Rise and Learn: Landlords and COVID-19
Attorney Larry McDonough describes the legal impact of COVID-19 on Landlords. Watch it here
COVID-19 Preparedness for Apartment Firms
The National Multi Housing Council created a guide for landlords
that includes guidance on:
Read the guide here
- An incident response plan for COVID-19 exposure at apartment communities.
- A resident communication plan.
- Fitness centers in apartment communities.
- Legal liabilities and obligations.
- Late payments. Need for flexibility and understanding.
- Self quarantining residents.
- Dealing with the aftermath, and more.
Recommendation from the Minnesota Multi Housing Association to All Housing Providers
To ensure this stability, MHA calls upon every Minnesota rental housing provider to support the MHA ‘Shelter in Place’ Guidelines by adopting the following:
- Halt evictions on renters affected by COVID-19, absent extraordinary circumstances.
- Waive late fees for residents who pay rent after the rent due date because they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government actions.
- Offer flexible payment plans for residents who cannot pay rent by the due date.
- Cease new rent increase notifications on all residents starting April 1.
- Direct renters to available resources to assist with food, health, and financial assistance.
- Communicate with residents proactively that you are available to assist them and want to work with them to ensure they remain housed.
Other Ways Landlords Can Support Renters
Many landlords are recognizing that their renters may be experiencing financial burdens, and are easing some of their lease terms temporarily. Reach out to your renters directly if you’re willing to help them through these uncertain times.
Here are some ways we have seen landlords offer to give their renters some flexibility:
- Share these materials from the Minnesota Department of Health about preventing the spread of COVID-19 (available in multiple languages). Share other guidance from MDH too.
- If you charge late fees, consider suspending them, or extending the grace period.
- Allow renters to pay rent on a payment plan or in weekly installments.
- Offer your renters a discount on next month’s rent.
- Share local food support options.
- Connect renters to access unemployment: https://www.uimn.org/
- Share these community resources.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services Offices
Most of these offices are closed. People may not be able to get their registration tabs for vehicles or even renew their driver's licenses. Exercise extreme caution if towing vehicles from your lots based solely on expired registration.